Week 240

21st July, 2013

We won the UK Lottery last week. We had an email from The National Lottery to tell us. Because we are abroad, we are not allowed to buy tickets. We just had a forward-bought one for six months. We asked for our winnings to be sent to our UK bank account. I don’t which new car I will choose but the extra £10.00 will help.


Of course, the real win was England over Australia.


22nd July, 2013

Painting the gate. I hate it. Why didn’t I hire someone to do this for me? Pauline loves painting. It is her hobby. I don’t know why I don’t just hire her out now Flavio has left the island. Anyway, my wife says we are painting the gate so we are. Actually, the weather is almost perfect for painting – overcast and cool but it is a bit blustery. Apostolis comes down from the farm on his bike and declares our painting ‘Spezziaale’ with his characteristic laugh. Papa Boulis toots his appreciation so loudly I almost drop my paint and two American tourist girls who must be identical twins and, taking advantage of the weather, on a walk up to Agios Simeon politely declined to help with the painting until they returned from their walk.

After two hours, I had had enough and, fortunately, the paint had run out. It means a trip up to the hardware shop. I need a new pressure washer as well. We may fit in coffee at Café Prego.

Got my pressure washer. They had three models to choose from. I only use it to clean the car and the patio so I didn’t go mad. €135.00 for a Michelin pressure washer. It will do exactly what I want.


Apropos of absolutely nothing, I meant to tell you, in The Daily Telegraph I saw this excellent feature on the resurgence of saucy postcards – like the seminal ones that originated from Bamforth of Holmfirth. This was my favourite:


We were eating lunch – which was a cheese salad – when we suddenly realised that everything we had on our table was locally sourced. Salad leaves and tomatoes from our garden, cucumbers from Apostelos’ garden, tomato relish made from Spiros’ tomatoes and onions, beetroot chutney made from beetroot and onion from a farmer near Exambela. Everything was delicious.

23rd July, 2013

A lovely, lovely day. We were supposed to be painting the gate but it was too windy. Hallelujah! (What am I saying?) We went out to collect the post. I was expecting a bill from Cosmote and a parcel from Nova. Surprise, surprise, the bill arrived but the parcel didn’t. We then went back with our amanuensis to spend the day at her house with her and her husband. It was absolutely delightful. We had ouzo and mezedes in the shade of the pine trees and talked and planned late into the afternoon. It was really useful.  We are invited to Lunch soon and we will respond by taking them out to Dinner. We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends.

We stayed so long that we didn’t get in to the sea for our swim until after 5.00 pm and then it was cold. We did 20 mins swimming and got straight out. Back at the house, I did my watering and then got ready for an early Dinner out. I hadn’t eaten all day apart from a little piece of Mezedes. We went down to talk to Panos & Rania and to eat salad with chicken souvlakia. As usual, it was wonderful.

My Nova box stopped working completely today. I can only get BBC World and nothing else. I have made up my mind to go up to Germanos and organise OTE TV tomorrow. It will mean I get the new season Premier League matches.

24th July, 2013

A busy day. Up at 6.00 am to get the cool of the morning. By 8.30 the front of the gate was painted – black gloss. By 9.30 am, we had driven up to Apollonia and visited the PostOffice to see if our new Nova satellite TV decoder box had arrived. It hadn’t. We went to Prego Café for coffee and contributed to the Samaras Collection. We have been hearing amazing stories about Golden Dawn (Χρυσή Αυγή) membership on Sifnos. It is a Right Wing, Extremist (Fascistic) Mob which, when the economic crisis is over, will slip back into the slime.

After coffee and gentle banter with the locals, we drive to Germanos to pay our Cosmote bill. Actually, we find that the cost of our service is being cut so rapidly that they owe us €70.00 so there is nothing to pay. I love this shop. I ask about OTE TV – the new alternative satellite TV service to Nova. It is incredibly cheap – half that of Nova – and has Premier League football for the next three years and free HD service. I bought it on the spot. Dinos has been booked to come and install it. Dinos set our satellite dish up more years ago than I care to remember now.

We drove home and had been there only an hour when a courier came to the door. He was wiping black paint from his hands as he opened the gate. He had our new, ‘free’ Nova box. Pauline gave him a tissue soaked in turps to clean his hands. I fitted up the new box. At least we will have a full service until Dinos turns up. The Premier League starts on August 17th so everything will be up and running long before then. We’ve bought the ‘full’ package which is so cheap compared to our Sky package at home.

Wonderful swim today. Clean again!

25th July, 2013

As was forecast, the Jetstream has moved south across Europe, bringing cooler weather to UK and hotter to Greece. Actually, we have been rather enjoying the cooler than normal weather here although swimming hasn’t been so pleasant for sensitive souls like me. This morning feels hot and the car in the garage reports 32C/90F. When we return from swimming at 4.30 pm, it reports 34C/93C.

At 6.00 am, I sent my wife out to finish painting the gate while it was cool. I watered all the vegetables at the back of the house and then all the trees and shrubs at the front of the house. Coffee and the newspaper followed and we listened to the 1.00 pm News on the BBC before setting off to swim. The water was still quite cold for the end of July but the wind was finally down.

Never ceases to amaze me who reads my Blog. I started it to keep in touch with my immediate family who are stretched far and wide but today I heard from Nikos in Porto Rafti. He is interested and amused to read the blunderings of an Englishman through his Greek culture in general and the island of Sifnos in particular. It is somewhere he knows well. He has been desperate to correct me about the name of my favourite café – Πραγκό (Prago) which I have been driving him mad by calling it Prego. He has taught me, I am ashamed to admit, that it is not named after the Italian for ‘please’ as so many are in UK but after a Cycladic, three-pronged fish hook. Of course, I knew that all the time but was just trying to provoke someone like Nikos to write in and correct me.

26th July, 2013

Another early start for my wife as she struggled to finish a huge, cast-iron gate which was resisting one coat of Hammerite ‘Direct to Rust’ black gloss. Rust seems to absorb two or three coats – poor, old girl.


I was forced to drink my coffee and read The Times alone. A shocking report I had to read too. What do you think of this?

A majority of GPs now back charging patients for appointments to reduce the  burden on the NHS, a poll suggests. Asking patients to pay to see a doctor would overturn one of the founding  principles of the health service, but 51 per cent of family doctors now say  it is necessary.

I predict that it won’t happen in my lifetime but to think that a majority of doctors think it would be acceptable to charge for our ‘free-at-the-point Health Service. Scandalous!

The temperature is up but only a little – 32-33C/90-91F- and the sea was still quite cold in the afternoon. I must be going soft. The sea didn’t used to be like this when I was young.

27th July, 2013

Fifth consecutive day of early starts. Pauline put the finishing touches to the gate. I had wanted gold tips like Buckingham Palace but, after Pauline had done the first three, it was obvious that it didn’t work and she repainted them black. The ‘For Sale’ sign at last came out of the garage and was attached to the gate at 7.15 am. We stood and waited for queues to form but, at 7.20 am, gave up and made coffee.


Well,  you couldn’t make it up. By 10.00 pm we were driving up to the supermarkets in Exambela (Ok, Nikos?) and the phone went.

A Greek family want to buy your house. I will get back to you for a meeting. No, they hadn’t seen the advert. They were talking yesterday.

Of course, it may mean very little but one never knows. Discussions with our Notary friend will take place this evening and arrangements will be made. Now, back to ordinary life.

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